Do You Pray - I Mean Really Pray? Part Two
Perhaps the only thing I have in common with a prophet of old is that I often write about things I have experienced. They are either embedded covertly in this article or they are glaring and salient and you can’t miss them.
From the archives, I wrote the following after going through a battle with depression.
The aged writer brushed his long gray locks of hair from in front of his wizened bearded face and sat down with pen in hand. What is so ironic is that he didn’t refer to himself as a real writer, for he had never written anything that was really published. What he was about to write was not to be submitted to any publisher, it was simply an entry in his journal. This is what he wrote:
When I was young, very young, perhaps three or four I knew I was real. I thought I was more real than even the Velveteen Rabbit! I was enthusiastically alive and very real! While others around me may have been real; I thought they could not feel things like I could. I thought they were there for my purpose, to meet my needs. I was indeed real and others, well they were just out there in space and time and they could not be real like me, perhaps they didn’t feel anything.
Now that I am old, I believe everyone else is real, I mean really real and enthusiastically alive and I am only an intangible being, just out there in space and time and I am only here to serve them and meet their needs! I am simply a pawn in their hands and I’m here for them to do with me as they wish.
I am spent, I am undone, a castaway, and the only real companions I have are my memories, which forever haunt me!
Now how is this article about prayer?
My biggest setbacks have fallen on the heels of one of two issues – either after a great victory or after a defeat.
Defeats can at best be humbling, but often the very thing we flee from is the very thing we need to embrace. Victories can indeed be rewarding, but they can also become a snare!
Over the past six months I have experienced some of the most dynamic and holy times with the Lord. My morning watch has been like none other I have ever experienced. But trials come to all of us.
With me, it is the little things that creep in that interfere with my prayer life and when my prayer life is damaged my walk is destroyed! It can be minor irritations that can either slither in or burst down the door and populate themselves into a city of bitterness or one giant Cyclops.
There are two situations which occurred on the heels of each other, both of which could be described as normal occurrences in the Christian’s life. However, satan used them once again to derail my prayer life for a period of time.
The first one was my attempt to witness to an old friend of mine I have known since grade school. Usually my witnessing is not planned; it is simply a part of me and my daily walk. But this time I prayed for weeks about how to witness to this old friend! I took him out to lunch and expected a great victory! I had envisioned us praying at the table to make Yeshua (Jesus) his Saviour and his Lord. The entire conversation lasted less than three minutes. There is no use going into detail, I fell flat! Nothing happened, although the food was great – I do love Mexican food!
The other situation is really benign. I had planned to set up a savings account for my grandson at a bank in the area. It would be his economic part of homeschooling. Twice a month he was to walk into the bank, talk to the teller, make the transaction, and learn to keep up with his money, such as it is. Again there is no value in going into detail, but this also fell flat, perhaps even more than my attempt at witnessing to my friend.
In the first example, I felt like a failure and in the other case my feelings were hurt, as were my grandson’s.
Although it was temporary, I lost many days of real prayer and that is deadly!
When your prayer life is damaged, for whatever reason, you are supplying the noose to hang yourself. “Seven days without prayer makes one weak.” With me, seven minutes without prayer puts me in such a weakened and vulnerable state that I am doomed for destruction in my spiritual walk.
Without daily prayer, I mean real prayer, it is impossible to live out the Christian life. What is blocking you from praying? Is it your job or business? Is it finances? Have you become complacent? Are you bitter? Are you basking in pride? Is it your health? Have others brought you down? Have family members interfered? You may not even know the source, but the enemy has run interference and you have fumbled the ball in your prayer life!
When anything interferes with our prayer life then be assured we will fall into sin – it is an absolute! Our enemy satan is using every tactic in his arsenal to keep us from praying. It can happen suddenly or over a few days. It can begin with feelings of anger, a prideful thought, or a click of a mouse. But when we stop praying so does our intrinsic walk with the Lord.
Often satan will use the diurnal routines of life to beset us. The day in and day out activities and cause enough interruptions to keep us from really praying! When we are satisfied with the status quo then growth stops and destruction awaits! It is sad; it is pathetic, that the longer we do not pray the more we are content to sit on the bench of neutrality.
This is the main reason the main-stream church is in the defeated shape she is in. The main-stream church has dropped the ball, she has fumbled, she has made a costly error – she no longer prays!
We Protestants like to ridicule the Catholics for their rote prayers, but we in many cases are no different in that we have added our own spin on rote, but they are still rote prayers. While thankfully Mary isn’t part of our prayers, I question if God is either!
Do we really pray as a church? Yeshua became extremely angry not once, but twice, both times over the same thing - the temple and how it was being treated. “My house shall be called a house of prayer” Mark 11:17 and Matthew 21:13. I may very well write an entire article on this very issue. It caused our Savior to drive the money changers out of the temple and overturn some tables and He used a whip. This was not lowly Jesus meek and mild! Our main-line churches are anything but houses of prayer! Au Contra they are far from it!!!
When we really pray and read His word we renew our minds. When we really pray we will develop a new and correct view of God. The more we pray the more we see the absolute perfection of God. He is a God who does not make mistakes. He is absolutely perfect.
The more we pray the more we learn of His absolute love. Most people are mentally aware of God’s love, but not all are experiencing it in its fullness. When you really pray you will learn what God’s love is all about. This has been the most difficult aspect for me to learn. It has taken me years to learn about the love of God!
As children, we often learn how to relate to God through our parents. We learn all the personality traits God has in part from our parents.
My dad was the most honest and hardest working man I know. I could write an entire newsletter on his virtues, dedication to family, his work ethic, and his honesty!
Once when we were on vacation, I was perhaps ten years old at the time; we had stopped and bought gas. My dad paid for the gas, received his change and we left. No big deal – right? As we drove down the highway my dad kept muttering to himself. After about 10 miles he stopped and began to count out the change the gas station attendant had given him. He suddenly exclaimed; “I knew it – that man gave me back too much money!” I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was about 38 cents too much. We drove back the ten miles to the gas station so my dad could return the 38 cents. My mom and I laughed at his extreme honesty and we thought it a little stupid - today I am very thankful for the lesson.
My dad worked twenty-five years at the power plant for the City of Denton and only missed three days of work due to illness. He was a good, honest, and hardworking man. But I can count on my fingers the times he sat down and talked with me, and told me how much he loved me – that just did not happen!! He did correct me, and often he was quite firm with that correction, thus I learned about the wrath of God from him, but not about the love of God. I did not learn about God’s love from my daddy, who I know loved me, but was just incapable of expressing it. I learned about the love of God in part from my mother, but mostly I learned about His love on my knees and it has taken years!
Recently, I watched a video entitled “Indescribable”. It’s based on the true story about how the classic Christian Hymn – “The Love of God” came about, especially the third verse.
This song depicts the love of God so well!
The Love of God
The love of God is
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky
Chorus: O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song
We learn about His love as we spend time with Him. The more time we spend the more we become aware of His mighty and pure love and the more we love Him. Praise God, as we continue to spend time with the Father we actually will develop a genuine love for one another! As we pray we learn the total personalities of God.
Then there are all the byproducts, that better stated, are added blessings, such as healings, etc. However, the real blessing is in knowing Him!
I can think of no other time to pray than now in the peril our country is in. While many, including those in the main-line church, go around singing the ABC song as if all is well, judgment is standing at the door.
In my final attempt to write on that verse “My house shall be called a house of prayer” I will also touch on Yeshua’s prayers. If only we could develop His type of prayer life!!!
He would seek the Father very early. He would pray all night. He never taught his disciples how to teach or preach, but how to pray!
If you have read this article and my other article on prayer you did not read anything new. I do not possess the intelligence or the vocabulary to adequately express the absolute importance of prayer, but without doubt it is the most strategic tool in the believer’s arsenal!
We all have heard the adage: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” But familiarity can also breed complacency. When we hear something so much it can be deafening. While you have heard many times the importance of prayer, I trust you have not heard it so much that you have become deaf to it!
Do you remember our aged would-be writer? He represents a large number of people who feel defeated. I implore you to rediscover or discover what it means to pray - I mean really pray and then pray with consistency. It will change your life to become an overcomer!
Now may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless you through His Son Yeshua.
In His Service,
This author does not capitalize “satan”